OSA Advanced Photonics Congress 2021

This week, TRANSNET Programme members Filipe Ferreira, Joshua Benjamin and Pedro Freire delivered invited and contributed papers and presentations at the 2021 OSA Advanced Photonics Congress.

The OSA Advanced Photonics Congress is a broad-spectrum, in-depth event comprised of five topical meetings covering the latest advancements in optical materials, optical signal processing, optical communications, and integrated optics. The topics this year were:

  • Integrated Photonics Research, Silicon and Nanophotonics
  • Novel Optical Materials and Applications
  • Optical Devices and Materials for Solar Energy and Solid-state Lighting
  • Photonic Networks and Devices

(TRANSNET Co-Investigator Lidia Galdino served as a committee member for the Photonic Networks and Devices topical).

  • Signal Processing in Photonic Communications

The meeting took place between 26 – 30 July 2021 in an all-virtual format. 

One of the big hot topics cutting across many topicals this year was artificial intelligence and machine learning and how they are used in optical design and optical networks, including how photonics can help implement and boost the performance of machine learning techniques. The fundamental aim of TRANSNET is to introduce intelligence into all levels of optical communication through the application of machine learning techniques, so it’s great to see the topic being discussed so fervently.

Read on for details of the team’s presentations at the 2021 OSA Photonics Congress.

Monday 26 July 

Presenter: Pedro Freire
Title: Power and Modulation Format Transfer Learning for Neural Network Equalizers in Coherent Optical Transmission Systems
Abstract: Transfer-learning is proposed to adapt NN-based nonlinear equalizer across different launch powers and modulation formats using a 450km TWC-fiber transmission. The result shows up to 92% reduction in epochs or 90% in the training dataset
Topic: Signal Processing in Photonic Communications
Session: Neural Networks Applications for Photonic Systems
Time: 21:30 – 21:45 EDT (02:30 – 02:45 BST)

Pedro presented this work again the following evening as part of a poster and networking session hosted by the OSA Fiber Modelling and Fabrication Technical Group which provides an opportunity for students and early career researchers to share their latest research findings and exchange ideas with colleagues.

Committee members for the technical group identified Pedro’s talk as being of interest to the group and so he was invited to join the special event – only a few students were selected to participate so well done Pedro! The format was interactive with each participant assigned a breakout room to present 1-2 slides on their work to the attendees who could move freely around the virtual space.

The associated submitted paper is available to read on arXiv: arxiv.org/abs/2106.13144

Wednesday 28 July

Presenter: Joshua Benjamin
Title: Benchmarking Packet-Granular OCS Network Scheduling for Data Center Traffic Traces **Invited**
Abstract: We recently reported hardware-implemented scheduling processors for packet granular reconfigurable optical circuit-switched networks. Here, we benchmark the performance of the processors under various data center traffic for a range of network loads.
Topic: Photonic Networks and Devices
Session: Datacenter Networks
Time: 17:00 – 17:30 EDT (22:00 – 22:30 BST)

Friday 30 July

Presenter: Filipe Ferreira
Title: Digital Back Propagation in Spatial Multiplexing Systems **Invited**
Abstract: We review the latest advances on digital backward-propagation for the compensation of inter-channel nonlinear interference in spatial- and wavelength-multiplexed systems.
Topic: Signal Processing in Photonic Communications
Session: Nonlinear Processing and Quantum Networks
Time: 12:00 – 12:30 EDT (17:00 – 17:30 BST)


Pedro Freire is a PhD researcher at Aston University (funded by MSCA under the REAL-NET Project) and has been a member of the TRANSNET Programme since 2019.

Joshua Benjamin is a post-doc at UCL and has been a member of TRANSNET since 2018.

Filipe Ferreira joined the TRANSNET Programme in 2019 as a Senior Research Fellow based at UCL. In 2020 he was awarded a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and remains an associate member of the team.